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  • Writer's pictureRACERS

Aliyyah Koloc wins 12H of Misano, secures GT4 class title with one round to go

Aliyyah Koloc and her Buggyra ZM Racing team secured their fourth consecutive victory and an outstanding seventh place overall at the 12 Hours of Misano - therefore sealing the GT4 class title in the 24H Series.

Aliyyah Koloc, Buggyra ZM Racing Mercedes AMG GT4, 24H Series, 2024 12H Misano
Photo credits: CREVENTIC

Continuing a stellar season in the Creventic 24H Series, Aliyyah Koloc and her Buggyra ZM Racing team claimed an outstanding victory at the 12 Hours of Misano, their fourth in as many races, and secured the GT4 class title with one round to spare.

Koloc added yet another flawless run to her perfect endurance racing season, after collecting victories at Mugello, Spa Francorchamps, and Portimao. The team perfectly navigated through all the challenges thrown at them during the season, keeping their undefeated streak alive.

Sharing the #416 Mercedes AMG GT4 with teammates Adam Lacko and David Vrsecky, Aliyyah had a flawless run that allowed the team to climb the overall classification and eventually cross the finish line in an amazing seventh place overall, passing several 992 as well as GT3 entries.

Coming into the second Italian round of the season at the renowned Misano World Circuit on the Adriatic Riviera, Buggyra ZM Racing knew they would need to endure the high temperatures of the Italian summer, with tyre management being crucial throughout the 12 hours of racing.

The team started the weekend on a high, securing second place in the GT4 class in both testing and official practice, just four-tenths off the class pacesetter, the Lionspeed GP Porsche 718 Cayman GT4.

The competition was incredibly close in GT4 qualifying. The three Buggyra Racing teammates alternated behind the wheel for the three sessions: they set the second-fastest times in Q1 and Q2, then third in Q3, with the leading duo separated by a tenth of a second. The combined results saw Koloc, Vrsecky, and Lacko taking third place, with an average combined time of 1:46.243. The StreetArt Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT4 of Fazal/Karim/Bachmann/Darras edged the #419 Hamofa Motorsport BMW by two-hundredths of a second on combined times for class pole position.

Photo credits: CREVENTIC

Under sunny skies and very warm weather, 20-year-old Aliyyah Koloc was in charge of the chaotic race start for the first edition of the 12 Hours of Misano on Saturday morning. Koloc started third in the GT4 class and P21 overall in a 27-car field.

She retained her third place at the start, driving smartly to manage the tyres, which would be a critical factor for most of the GT4 field. During the first round of pit stops, the third-placed Hamofa Motorsport BMW suffered a puncture, allowing Aliyyah to pit from second and hand over to Adam Lacko, who maintained the position.

"The start was pretty chaotic as the car that was supposed to be next to me was in front of me, in the wrong grid position, but nevertheless we managed to do a good stint," said Aliyyah after her first stint. "Our competitors, some of them GT3 cars, were really fast. It was hard to catch them, but overall it was a good stint."

Two hours in, Lacko caught up with the leading StreetArt Racing Aston Martin at a great pace, taking the lead as the race reached its first 70 laps and running several seconds per lap faster than the #407 Aston despite lacking the pure straight-line speed of some of his competitors.

Vrsecky then took the wheel, maintaining and extending the lead over Darras, now driving the StreetArt Racing Aston. Three hours into the race, the StreetArt Aston hit trouble, allowing the Buggyra ZM Racing Mercedes, still driven by Vrsecky, to put a lap between itself and its closest pursuer.

The gap continued to grow, and when Aliyyah got back in the car, she kept the lead with a healthy margin, lapping consistently solid times and staying two laps ahead of the Hamofa Motorsport BMW, which had returned to second place in GT4.

Photo credits: CREVENTIC

More issues struck the BMW, allowing the Aston Martin to reclaim second once the BMW stopped on track. With seven hours to go, Aliyyah enjoyed a lead of over six minutes. She had another great stint, never under threat, and extended the gap to eight minutes before handing over to Adam Lacko with six hours left.

In a trouble-free race for the #416 Mercedes despite the extreme temperatures, the team took no risks and kept fitting new tyres at each pit stop. Lacko, meanwhile, continued to move up the overall classification, nearing the top ten overall and staying three laps clear of the closest GT4 rival.

Lacko reached 10th overall, further increasing the gap to the second GT4 car as the StreetArt Racing Aston had a long stop for a braking issue. In the following stints, Vrsecky and Aliyyah extended the lead to over 30 laps with three hours to go after more flawless runs by the Buggyra team.

Koloc ran in the overall top ten, performing impeccably and catching some of the Porsche 992 entries. In the final hours, she moved up to eighth overall, with her rivals unable to match the pace and encountering trouble.

Aliyyah flawlessly pushed through, gaining another position in the final hour and crossing the finish line in seventh overall, with an unbelievable 87-lap advantage over the closest GT4 rival, the #424 Lionspeed GP Porsche, which had suffered several punctures. The StreetArt Aston Martin finished third, also plagued by punctures and prolonged brake issues.

"It was a long 12 hours, but I feel really good," an ecstatic Koloc commented after her fourth consecutive race win in the 24H Series. "The team did well and we finished in P7 overall, beating quite a few GT3s which are usually faster than us."

Crucially, the victory in Misano gained Buggyra ZM Racing the necessary points to seal the GT4 class title with one race to spare.

"Finally, we also came first in the class championship, which is great as we only missed it by a little last year," Aliyyah continued.

"Over the season, there was some close fighting in our class and sometimes we had to start from the back. We have been very consistent throughout the year, delivering in every race. We form a great team with David and Adam, and also with Jarek Janiš, who played a big part in our success in the 24 Hours of Portimao in May. Congratulations to the whole team. We will be pushing for more!"

Photo credits: CREVENTIC

Aliyyah Koloc therefore follows in the footsteps of fellow female racer Samantha Tan, who was the last woman to secure the 24H Series GT4 title in 2021.

One of eight women to have raced in the championship this year, Koloc also secured the class honors of the Ladies Cup.

The victory was also just as important for Aliyyah's twin sister, Yasmeen, who was in charge of engineering the car and, for the first time, was handed the reins of the race management by the senior engineers alongside fellow junior engineers Jakub and Matej Hadascok.

"I was a little nervous before the race as it felt like a big responsibility to run the race from the engineering side and prepare and adapt the strategy throughout those 12 hours," Yasmeen Koloc commented. "Together with Jakub and Matej, I think we managed well. We did ask the senior engineers from time to time when we weren’t sure about our call as the championship was at stake, and they were a big help and reassured our choices. I am looking forward to Barcelona where hopefully I will be able to put into practice the experience I have gained at Misano."

After a summer break, the 24H Series will return for its European season finale with yet another challenging race: the 25th edition of the 24 Hours of Barcelona. Aliyyah Koloc and the whole Buggyra ZM Racing team will aim to complete the perfect season, extending their streak of consecutive race wins.



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